After weeks of speculation, rumors, and intrigue, Kyrie Irving’s request to be traded has finally gone through. According to ESPN, the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to send star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for PG Isaiah Thomas, F Jae Crowder, C Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.
Any time a couple of All-Star players are involved in a trade, the rest of the league is sure to take notice. This is true to a larger extent for this trade, as it features the two best teams in the Eastern Conference dealing with one another. The Cavaliers, NBA Finals runner-ups, have taken a huge risk by potentially helping the only team that can challenge them in the East this year. However, upon further inspection, this deal actually makes a lot of sense for Cleveland.
As aforementioned, Kyrie Irving made his feelings clear this summer: he wanted out of Cleveland. He was turned off by trade talks mentioning him early in the offseason, and he no longer wanted to play in LeBron James’ shadow. Once word got out, the Cavs had to make a move. Heading into the season with an unhappy Kyrie would have been unwise, especially after the constant social media shots Kyrie and LeBron fired after the trade request become public. Furthermore, with LeBron James being an upcoming free agent in the summer of 2018, the future of the Cavs was bleak and uncertain. Now, the future is still uncertain, but much more hopeful.
By acquiring the expiring contract of Isaiah Thomas and a 2018 first round pick via the Brooklyn Nets, the Cleveland Cavaliers are set up for both short-term and long-term success. If LeBron leaves next summer, they can attempt to re-sign Thomas and have a core of Thomas, Love, and the first-round pick moving forward. Thomas and Love would mentor the likely highly drafted rookie, while being a formidable pairing in their own right. Or they could let Thomas walk, keep/trade Love, and still have Brooklyn’s first-round pick. This is a much better scenario than the Cavs faced when LeBron left for Miami in 2010. The Cavs would have a high first-round pick to kickstart their rebuild, as opposed to being doomed to the end of the first round or having no pick at all. Cavs fans should be thrilled.
On the other hand, Celtics fans must feel uneasy. While the team did pick up a star player in Kyrie Irving, they also gave up Brooklyn’s coveted 2018 first-round pick and an integral defensive player in Jae Crowder. Still, it is likely Kyrie will re-sign with the team when he opts out of his deal in 2019, and having a 25 year old All-Star in Kyrie Irving is incredibly valuable. With Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford, the Celtics are still in a very good position both short-term and long-term.
Who won the deal?
It is rare that two teams win a trade, but this seems to be the case in the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas swap. What do you think?